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In our most recent case study, we spoke to Pauline Lecomte of Speech Graphics about what it’s like to work in a role which combines her interests and skills in linguistics and technology.

Eloquently summarised on their website, Edinburgh based company Speech Graphics deals in “engineering an illusion… our task is to create the illusion that the animated face you see is the source of the sound you hear”. The company consists of an interdisciplinary team to solve the unique challenges posed by the task of successfully animating in a way which allows the viewer to believe in what they see. This research-led team and combination of expertise is found nowhere else in the world.

In Pauline’s own words, the company produces software which “automatically generates fully expressive facial animations for thousands of lines of dialogue from audio input alone”.

Speech Graphics logo

She reflected on why she was drawn to the placement:

“Joining Speech Graphics was an opportunity for me to work in a company that combines my areas of interest: Linguistics, Translation and Technology. I came from a Translation background and then later decided to study Linguistics at Master level. For this reason, I wanted to work in a company where I could get professional experience in Linguistics (specifically Phonetics) while still being able to use my foreign languages and learn about programming”.

Pauline’s role as a Junior Linguist is to refine the multilingual data and language tools used at the company. This process ensures the software can support multiple languages making it accessible to a wider audience. Pauline brings a specific set of skills to the role, including fluency in three languages, intermediate skills in two more, and she continues to take additional university Languages courses to continually update her knowledge to apply to the job.

She is passionate about what she does and motivated by the need to learn and adapt to all aspects of her job:

“Like for most professional experiences, I had to learn on the job, and after 8 months in the company, I am still learning every day. I approach the job as a constant learning experience and new challenge. Everything I am learning is a new piece of the puzzle that allows me to become more comfortable every day in what I do”.

It’s great to see Pauline’s dedication to continuous professional development, but as with any role it hasn’t all been plain sailing. Pauline’s attitude about learning is directly influenced by the challenges she has overcome while she worked hard to address the areas she had limited experience in, “to fully understand how the magic happens at Speech Graphics, there is a lot to assimilate and to learn, especially in the field of technology which was not my background”.

And Pauline’s advice to graduates interested in a ScotGrad placement or about to start one? “Go for something [you] are interested in and don’t take anything for granted”.

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